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Comfort Food to Overcome Depression and Social Distancing

We all need comfort when we are down and social distancing has been tough on our psyche for awhile. Yet, Italians seem to overcome any problem, including depression, with food. The kitchen is their kingdom and food, their inspiration. Then, of course, they cook so much to feed an entire army. Well, that’s what I did, at least for awhile, and kept my sanity.

Here is a light, delightful potato gnocchi recipe from scratch:


  • 2 potatoes — boiled and mashed

  • 1 1/2 to 2 cups of flour

  • 1 to 2 eggs (depending on the amount of flour)

  • Sea salt — if desired; if you have blood pressure problems, skip it.

Steps to make gnocchi

  • Place the flour on the board and make a little mountain with a hole in it

  • Place the mashed potatoes in the hole

  • Whisk the eggs and add it to the potatoes

  • Work the batter with the potatoes and flour until you make a dough

  • Knead the dough and let it rest for a few minutes

  • Cut the dough in small pieces and roll them into strings

  • Cut the strings in small pieces

  • Roll each piece with your finger

Ingredients for tomato sauce

  • 1 can whole tomato sauce, then crush the tomatoes

  • Fresh basil, 3-4 cloves of garlic and 1/4 to half onion depending on the size

  • Extra virgin olive oil

  • Sea salt (if desired)

  • Parmigiano

Sauce preparation

  • Sauté mashed garlic and cut up onion in olive oil in a pan until golden

  • Add the crushed tomato sauce and let cook for 10 minutes

  • Add the fresh basil

Cook the gnocchi and serve

  • Bring water to a boil and add a drizzle of oil so that the gnocchi don’t stick together

  • Add the gnocchi

  • As soon as they pop out on the surface, drain them—they are done!

  • Place them in a bowl, add sauce and parmigiano and mix well. This way they absorb the sauce and the flavors.

  • Place them in a serving dish and add more sauce, parmigiano and fresh basil.

Buon appetito!

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